Bookkeeping For Law Students

Bookkeeping For Law StudentsThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about keeping your expenses in order as a law student.

With the frequent use of online banking, it’s easy these days to put our finances on autopilot. We create automatic payments for our bills. We get billing statements sent to inboxes and probably move them directly to the trash without even opening them. In short, we’re not paying attention to our money or our budget.

That can be a big problem down the road. As a law student (especially if you’re going to law school straight from undergrad), you probably aren’t worried yet about buying a house or perhaps getting a business loan to open your own practice.

There are numerous expenses and financial goals that can be impacted by poor financial habits in law school.

Trust me, I understand how completely time-consuming law school can be. Sometimes I feel like I’m still briefing cases, and it’s been more than ten years since I was in law school! However, your future is waiting for you. It’s important to establish good financial habits now before you start making the big lawyer dollars later.

Here’s how to manage your money now to set yourself up for success later.

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Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young Lawyer

Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young LawyerThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to discuss how to budget as a new lawyer.

Congrats! You have graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, have been sworn-in as a practicing lawyer, and you landed your first “big girl/boy/gender-noncomforming” job! With a new job and more income comes additional responsibilities, including (but definitely not limited to) managing your finances! Personally, I am an attorney at a small-medium sized law firm that specializes in personal injury. I have been officially working at the firm as an attorney for about a year now, however I started at my office in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal. I am also a first-generation college student and the only lawyer in my family. My husband and I both come from very working-class backgrounds and have had jobs since the age of 16. So it should suffice to say that we “ball on a budget.” When I graduated from law school and passed the bar, I started working as an attorney and made more money than I had ever before in my life.

However, I also had to start paying my student loans and managing all my other finances. So what are some tips and tricks to budgeting, especially after you first become an attorney? And how can you best manage your finances at your new lawyer pay rate? Here is my advice to young lawyers on how to budget and be a financial all-star!

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Make Applying to Outside Law School Scholarships a Habit

Make Applying to Outside Law School Scholarships a HabitThis week we hear from current law student and guest writer Tiffany Gee Ching Lo about how to approach applications to law school scholarships.

It is no secret that attending law school is a massive financial undertaking. While many schools provide need and merit-based scholarships, most students still need to pay a large sum of tuition and living expenses. As a student, I feel this pressure acutely, as do many of my classmates. During the summer before starting law school, I was curious to see whether there were scholarships I could apply for. I started with a simple google search, but quickly ended up with tens and tens of tiny tabs in my browser. I realized that many law firms and legal organizations offer awards ranging anywhere from $100 to $30,000, averaging at $2,000-$2,500. Many scholarships are recurring on an annual or semesterly basis. There were so many opportunities that I created a document to store all the hyperlinks and to organize them. I now call this list my money maker. [Read more…]

Easy Steps You Can Take to Get Your Finances in Order During COVID-19

Easy Steps You Can Take to Get Your Finances in Order During Covid-19This week we welcome back guest writer and tutor Ariel Salzer to talk about staying on top of your finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

I was talking with a friend from college the other day and I asked her how she is coping with the Coronavirus lockdown. “Not so bad, actually! Now is a great time to get your finances in order.”

Wait, what? Honestly, this was the last thing on my mind. She went on to explain that she had been teaching herself more about how the stock market works and where to make investments and basically just getting her financial house in order. And, she’s a pretty savvy VP of debt and structured finance at a big commercial real estate and investment firm, so I figured she probably knew what she was talking about. [Read more…]

Law School is Expensive, Not Impossible: How to Navigate Student Aid

matt lenhard headshot

Please welcome Matt Lenhard, Co-Founder at LendEDU. LendEDU is a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinancing. Today he is sharing the different ways to pay for your law school education. 

Welcome, Matt!

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My Federal Debt and Me: The Truth About Income Based Repayment

Marina ModlinPlease welcome Marina Modlin, wills and trusts attorney and author of The Independence Track — a resource for freelance attorneys. Today, Marina is sharing her student loan story and what she’s learned about Income Based Repayment (IBR). 

Welcome, Marina!

So, the other day I called the people who are servicing my consolidated federal law school loans, with a vague hope of finding out the terms of IBR, or Income Based Repayment, in which I am enrolled.

Now, I’m not usually the kind of person to be enrolled in something that I don’t understand — but with these loans, I felt like I had no choice: I couldn’t afford a regular payment, yet I couldn’t find any coherent documentation online, and the servicing company back at the time when I first enrolled was not able to explain it to me (they have since gone out of business. Can you even imagine what it’d take to go out of business in this industry?!) [Read more…]

6 Tips for Applying for Bar Admission on a Budget

Barrister on a Budget - Jenny MaxeyLaw school can sometimes seem like one expense after another. And it doesn’t end when classes conclude — You still have to pass the bar exam and get admitted!

Today, we’re pleased to welcome Jenny Maxey, author of Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…Without Breaking the Bank, who has some tips on getting admitted without going broke. Enjoy!

Whether you’re a 1L or a few months away from graduation, that desire to become an attorney cannot actually be fulfilled until you are licensed. And even though we all know this is the case, after being hunkered down in the law library for hours or preparing for those always-looming finals sometimes the application process for bar admission can still turn up as a surprise — and a several thousand dollar surprise at that!

However, you can keep the cost of applying for admission down through budgeting and taking steps in advance.
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How Do I Keep From Declaring Bankruptcy After Law School? An Interview with Bankruptcy Lawyer Jeena Cho

jeena choLet’s face it — law school is expensive (very expensive) and most students graduate with a ton of debt. Pair that with a lousy job market, and it’s easy to start thinking about ways to make your student loans go away.

Today, I’ve called in San Francisco bankruptcy attorney Jeena Cho of JC Law Group PC to offer her counsel.

Take it away, Jeena!

I’m getting ready to start law school, and I’m very concerned about the loans I’m taking out and my overall finances. What are the three most important things to keep in mind as I go through law school, to avoid finding myself in your office declaring bankruptcy?

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Four Useful Tips for Legal Networking on a Budget

Jenny L. MaxeyIf you’re looking for a legal job, you know you need to network. Right? Well, that can get expensive — which is tricky when you have no income!

We’re thrilled to welcome Jenny L. Maxey, author of “Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank” who’s here to share some tips for networking on a budget. Take it away!

Maybe you’ve just taken the bar exam, but you still haven’t found a job. Or, maybe you are a rising 3L just beginning your search. Either way, unemployment is more common now than ever, but there are still ways to find employment and it’s never too early to position yourself for better employment potential.

One key strategy is to broaden your network.

In good times, as the saying goes who you know is more important than what you know. In the legal profession you need both, but during a recession the “who” becomes critical.

Better yet, you can expand your network without racking up out-of-control expenses.

Here are a few tips:

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12 Things I’d Do if I Were An Unemployed 3L

Tips for unemployed 3LsWith all the gloom and doom reporting out lately (only half of graduating law students can expect jobs! and so forth), I’ve been thinking about what someone who’s graduating from law school in a couple of months without a job offer can do, right now, to improve their prospects.

I don’t guarantee these suggestions are right for everyone, and I’m sure there’s other stuff I haven’t thought of, but let’s at least start the conversation. If you’ve got other suggestions, jump in! (And don’t miss this awesome series from guest poster Katie Slater: Job Hunting for 3Ls and Recent Grads.)

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